Smith: I can do No.7 jersey justice

Wigan Warriors' Matty Smith
Wigan Warriors' Matty Smith

MATTY Smith is confident he can thrive under the pressure of wearing the No.7 shirt.

The iconic jersey has been worn by some of the club’s greats over the years, from Andy Gregory and Adrian Lam to Shaun Edwards and recent incumbent Thomas Leuluai.

Smith will carry the baton in 2013 and while admitting he is following in the footsteps of legends, he is confident he can live up to fans’ expectations.

The 25-year-old said: “There’s been a lot of great players wearing the No.7 here, so no pressure then!

“But seriously, I feel privileged to have that shirt now, and believe I can do it justice. I believe I can be successful.”

Smith arrived at Wigan from Salford last July.

Shaun Wane had already identified him as a suitable candidate to replace NRL-bound Leuluai in 2013, and after losing the Kiwi to a leg injury sustained in the Exiles match he asked chairman Ian Lenagan to part with a transfer fee to bring Smith in earlier than scheduled.

In total, the former St Helens and Crusaders ace made nine appearances as he found his feet at the Warriors last term. His early games came at hooker, then a run at halfback ended when Kiwi favourite Leuluai returned from a nasty leg injury.

“Last season went better than I thought for myself,” said Smith, a former Everton football junior.

“From day one the lads were brilliant with me.

“Tommy was a fantastic player and he and Finchy got the team into the position they were in, they did all the hard work, and to come in and play a couple of games at seven, I was happy with that. But I’m glad I’ve got the No.7 now and I can concentrate on running the team and getting them around the park.”

Smith and his Wigan team-mates have returned to training at Orrell following their 10-day warm-weather camp in Florida.

“It was nice to get out there into some nice weather,” he said. “It varies it up, having a different setting to here. My mum, dad and girlfriend told me I had to get them some nice Christmas presents!”